07/23/2012 3:35PM

Del Mar: Baffert a big player in San Diego and Bing Crosby

Benoit & Associates
Trainer Bob Baffert will send The Factor (above) and Capital Account in Sunday's Grade 1 Bing Crosby.

DEL MAR, Calif. – He has Liaison scheduled to run at Saratoga on Saturday in the Jim Dandy and Paynter scheduled to run on Sunday in the Haskell at Monmouth Park, but trainer Bob Baffert will be remaining here at Del Mar, where he got off to a fast start with two stakes wins opening week and will be looking to add more this weekend.

Baffert is scheduled to send out Prayer for Relief and Take Control in the Grade 2, $200,000 San Diego Handicap for older horses on Saturday and will tag team the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes for older sprinters on Sunday with Capital Account and The Factor. And as an appetizer, he has Richard’s Kid set for the Grade 3, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap on Friday.

The San Diego, at 1 1/16 miles, is a prep for next month’s Pacific Classic. In addition to Baffert’s duo, others scheduled for the San Diego include John Scott, Kettle Corn, Mobilized, Rail Trip, and Tres Borrachos.

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The Bing Crosby, at six furlongs, had a mere seven nominations, including Comma to the Top, who is entered in an optional-claiming race on Thursday, and Gun Boat, a 3-year-old who is scheduled to go to Saratoga this weekend for Baffert. As a result, the field will be small. But Baffert does not have a hammerlock on the race because set to face his pair is last year’s Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, Amazombie, as well as Don Tito.

Eden’s Moon staying on turf for now

Baffert’s biggest win of opening week came on Sunday, when Eden’s Moon led from start to finish in her grass debut in the San Clemente Stakes. And she will stay on the turf, with the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 18 her main objective here, Baffert said.

“Eden’s Moon came out of the race “real good,” Baffert said Monday morning.

“She handled that pretty easy. I want to run her back in the Oaks, then take her to Parx for the Cotillion.”

Del Mar’s program for 3-year-olds, for both males and females, is turf-centric, so unless a trainer wants to go up against older horses on Polytrack or ship out of town for dirt, grass is in demand. Baffert decided to try the turf with Eden’s Moon after a strong grass work six days before the San Clemente.

“I didn’t know what to do when I got down here,” Baffert said. “But she worked so well on the turf the other day. Her pedigree on the bottom side screams turf. She likes it tighter. Now we have options.”

Eden’s Moon, a daughter of Malibu Moon out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, is owned by Kaleem Shah. Earlier this year, Eden’s Moon won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita. Most recently, she was beaten a nose in the Hollywood Oaks.